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MLB: Could Torii Hunter be in a New York state of mind

SAN FRANCISCO -- Torii Hunter, who figures to be one of the premier free agents on the market this winter, especially now that Ichiro Suzuki will be staying in Seattle, admits that, as much as he would like to stay in Minnesota, it's been impossi...

SAN FRANCISCO -- Torii Hunter, who figures to be one of the premier free agents on the market this winter, especially now that Ichiro Suzuki will be staying in Seattle, admits that, as much as he would like to stay in Minnesota, it's been impossible not to think about what it would be like playing in, say, New York.

"Oh yeah," the Twins center fielder said. "I'd be lyin' if I said I haven't thought about it. I'm human! I sit up every night thinking about where I might be playing." As important a player as he is to the Twins, Hunter is realistic about Minnesota's chances of making a competitive offer to keep him. He is also realistic about his ability. "I'm a player," he said. "I do all things. There's no pressure being a free agent. It's a pleasure having teams want you and I'm having a lot of fun with this." Yes, he's got lot of Reggie in him, too, and when someone asked him if he played in New York would they "name a candy bar after him like Reggie Jackson?" he laughed. "I don't know about that," Hunter said. "I think maybe a line of men's underwear in Victoria's Secret might be more appropriate for me."

GM Brewin'

This year's hottest GM prospect, Brewers scouting director Jack Zduriencik, is a guy who has certainly paid his dues, having worked his way through the ranks in scouting positions with the Mets, Dodgers and Pirates. It's Zduriencik whom GM Doug Melvin gives much of the credit for the rise of the Brewers. As head man in the draft, Zduriencik is responsible for the entire Brewer "kiddie korps" infield of Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, J.J. Hardy and Ryan Braun.

"What a lot of people don't realize," said Melvin, "is that we haven't had a whole of bunch of picks in these drafts like Oakland or other teams who lost free agents, so Jack has essentially had no margin for error. He's had amazing success for us in both high school and college players." ... With the All-Star Game slated for Yankee Stadium next year, the Bombers have the largest contingent of people here with team president Randy Levine and COO Lonn Trost heading up a group of 18 making the rounds.

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-- Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune

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